April 2003: Lenny Wilkens Sets Another Coaching Record
As the Raptor's disastrous 2002/2003 season trudged onward, the countdown started on Lenny Wilken's pursuit of the record for the most losses recorded by a head coach in NBA history. Lenny may not have been pursuing that record very hard but it sure appeared like the team really wanted to help Lenny achieve this ignoble goal by losing 12 straight in December and January.
Everyone in Toronto knew this was the end of the Lenny era (an era most noted for the T-shirt with sports coat look) so when the Raptors lost 9 of 10 in March, why didn't management give this NBA legend a break and fire him before he could break the record? It probably had something to do with the severance owed to Lenny when fired as opposed to "agreeing to part ways" like the team eventually announced at the conclusion to the season. So I guess Lenny ended up being handsomely rewarded for sticking in there until his one trillionth defeat.
Fittingly enough Lenny tied the record on April Fool's Day and then made the team made sure the record was all his by ending the season with 8 straight losses. Just to make sure that the record was untouchable Wilkens became the coach of the New York Knicks in 2004. Although Lenny's record looks safe for now it looks like Don Nelson wants to make a run at it.